31 August 2022

Covap reduces order preparation errors by 95% with a combination of Reflex WMS and mechanization

After deploying a new stacker crane and conveyor system for containers, managed by the Reflex WMS warehouse management software, the Vendée-based cooperative can now process 60 orders at once—compared with eight previously—and has recorded a 95% reduction in order preparation errors.

Grenoble, August 31, 2022 – Reflex Logistics Solutions (Hardis Group), a leading provider of logistics execution software, announces that Covap, a 500-member trade cooperative in the Vendée region of western France, is using the Reflex WMS warehouse management software to manage its mechanization system. This organizational change has delivered significant operational performance improvements and helped raise the standard of service that Covap provides to its members.

Reflex WMS: Orchestrating “person to goods” and “goods to person” processes

Covap is a pooled procurement cooperative founded in 1982 and based in La Chaize-le-Vicomte in the Vendée region of France. It provides heating, electrical, plumbing and kitchen supplies, as well as household appliances, to a network of 500 tradespeople (electricians, plumbers, appliance repairers, and more). In 2016, Covap acquired the Reflex WMS warehouse management software for its 12,000 sq. m logistics platform. Then, in 2019, the cooperative deployed a stacker crane and conveyor system for containers in order to cater to growing demand and to more efficiently process the 3,000 order lines—representing 300-500 orders on average—it receives each day. Covap’s miniload system handles the storage of 10,000 smaller items (out of the 20,000 products stored at its warehouse), which are automatically routed to the order preparation tables.

Having deployed this new mechanized system, the cooperative needed to rethink its logistics processes. Now, orders placed by members on its e-commerce website are transferred to the ERP system, and then to Reflex WMS. The warehouse management system distributes the preparation tasks by product type, either calculating operator pick routes (“person to goods”) or sending a pick order to the right containers on the stacker crane in the warehouse’s two order preparation workshops (“goods to person”). Once the pick tasks are complete, Reflex WMS and, in turn, the ERP system, are updated automatically. Orders are then consolidated and routed to the loading docks, with a 6 pm cutoff for next-day delivery.

Productivity gains and a 95% reduction in errors

Since installing the stacker crane, which is coupled to a weight control system, the number of daily order preparation errors has fallen from 40 to just one or two, on average. The new system has also delivered productivity gains, with Covap now able to prepare 30 orders simultaneously on each of the two tables, up from just four previously. In addition, the cooperative has seen an improvement in stock information for smaller items, with the introduction of a perpetual inventory process. “We ask our operators to count the number of items in the containers whenever the system reports a stock discrepancy,” said Wilfried Ferré, Logistics Manager at Covap.

The cooperative will make further investments in its logistics systems in the coming months. “Our merger with Copagir, a 90-member cooperative in neighboring Gironde, means we’ll need to open a second platform in their region,” added Ferré. Covap plans to invest in two new miniload and pallet stacker cranes to prevent musculoskeletal injuries and disorders caused by lifting heavy loads. These new systems, which will also be managed by Reflex WMS, are expected to be up and running by the end of 2024.